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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Review of Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son

Overcoming Addiction Through Prayer By Anita Estes

I’ve got to say right from the start that I am not a religious person but respect the feelings of those who are, whatever their faith. Also I don’t generally read “True Life Stories.” No, my reading tends to be an escape from reality, thrillers or comedy, so I approached a review of this book with a bit of trepidation.

Within a few pages however I was hooked, I wanted to read it all and see what happened in the end. It is also thought provoking. What greater accolade can you give any book?

Anita Estes wears her heart on her sleeve as she details the fight against her son’s addictions to alcohol and drugs, a problem so many parents now seem to have with their kids. This was a very brave book to write and I admire Anita for having the courage to write it. Her son Ben, from late teens, began a downward spiral into addiction and just recognising the problem was the first obstacle to overcome. Once identified, what do you do about it and what effects will it have on the rest of the family? Anita has a husband and two daughters as well as Ben to consider in all this.

As the problems with Ben persisted and got worse in a seemingly endless cycle of despair and hope, at times early on in the book I felt Anita comes across as naive and I believe she should have been a lot firmer with her son, easy to say from a distance and looking in from the outside of a very complex situation. However throughout all this Anita’s faith in God’s guidance never waivered and you have to admire her for that. A lot of people would have given up on their child many times but her determination and love for Ben shines through always. At times in the book the struggle Anita has when she believes she must act in one way but feels God wants her to act in a different way makes for very interesting reading.

The book is presented in an unusual style, first Anita presents us with a Letter to God on different days and times which explain a situation or problem with Ben and Anita’s personal feelings about it. Next follows a Lesson Learned which puts a positive spin on even the darkest moments. Finally is a Suggestion where Anita leads you through things to do in the situation with quotes and passages to read from The Bible for help and guidance. The book follows this pattern throughout.

One thought the book left me to ponder on. Anita and her family were able to offer Ben financial support throughout the years of his problems, be it with schooling, housing and finally in the Transformation Life Center. Now I know God doesn’t help and guide you depending on the size of your purse but poorer less fortunate families will probably have to think and act in different ways. Perhaps I was wrong with my earlier statement; maybe God does offer you guidance and his love depending on your circumstances. I don’t know.

This book was a revelation to me, not an enjoyable read, alcohol and drug addiction can never be enjoyable, but the book was truly inspirational and anybody who has a child whose parents suspect they are beginning to dabble with alcohol or drugs should make this a must read book, for the rest of us it simply makes an interesting story. I highly recommend Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son

My rating 5 out of 5

To see Letters to God, on a Prodigal Son Click here.

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